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Southeast Asia
Australia gets proof Philippines hostage alive
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Thursday welcomed news that Warren Rodwell was alive after being held hostage for more than a year in the Philippines, but said his prolonged captivity was a "major concern".

Rodwell, a former soldier from Sydney, was taken by suspected Muslim terrorists extremists from his home in the southern Philippine town of Ipil on December 5, 2011.

In a video posted on a YouTube channel linked to Abu Sayyaf, Rodwell confirms he was captured by that terrorist militant group, which was started with seed money from Al-Qaeda.

Rodwell says the date is December 16, 2012 and shows a newspaper from the previous day. He says he was kidnapped 54 weeks ago. In the two-minute video he says, "I'm being held prisoner, kidnapped by (the) Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist group for over one year - actually 53, 54 weeks today. This video clip today is to say that I am alive, I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what's going on outside, I'm just kept held prisoner in isolation."

Carr said the "confirmation of Mr Rodwell's welfare is welcome" but called his prolonged captivity a "major concern".

In a statement, Carr said, "The Philippines government has the lead in response to this case and is devoting significant resources to securing Mr Rodwell's release. The Australian government is assisting Philippines authorities where appropriate."

He added Australian officials had been keeping contact with Rodwell's family and it would "not be helpful to Mr Rodwell to comment further".

Major Emmanuel Garcia, the military's deputy chief for public affairs, said, "The Armed Forces of the Philippines will take measures in support to the Philippine National Police... to fully ascertain the identity and if possible, the whereabouts of the individual if he is a kidnap victim."

Rodwell was last seen in a video in May that was believed to be dated from the end of March. In another video in January, sent to his Filipina wife, Rodwell said his captors were demanding $2 million in ransom.
Posted by:ryuge